As I have mentioned previously, I have reached a point where I am no longer able to take anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS). This problem is complicated further by the fact that I drive a school bus, so am unable to take any muscle relaxers or narcotic pain medications either. Being a single mom, especially since my youngest is 4 and so still very dependent on me, means that even if it weren't for work purposes, I do not want to take anything that alters my ability to think clearly and function.
For many years, I have been having muscle spasms in my lower back that come and go. Following a period of time with even more stress than usual including the deaths of a family member and a friend, 3 emergency room visits with my kids in a 6 week span, and some personal turmoil, the back spasm came with a vengeance and refused to leave. Usually, I would go see my family doctor, who would prescribe NSAIDs and Muscle relaxers, but I knew that wasn’t an option this time. Oddly, despite the natural living that characterized my upbringing, I never went to a chiropractor until 2008, and even then still carried a heavy dose of skepticism. My last chiropractor did an okay job of treating my pain, but was much more interested in selling his overpriced supplements and trying to convince me to reject traditional medicine entirely than he was in my overall health. I stopped seeing him after he ran into some legal trouble, and had not worked up the courage to find someone to “replace” him. This added to my reluctance to choose the path of “alternative medicine”, but I was in so much pain that I was willing to try just about anything. Finally, in frustration and desperation, I decided to see a chiropractor, and got referrals from several close friends. One doctor’s name kept coming up from nearly every person I talked to, so I booked my first appointment with Dr. C.
My first visit with the C.'s chiropractic office was not a fun experience, but I immediately knew that I had found great people who genuinely cared about making me feel better. After the x-rays and physical exam, they sat me down and pretty much told me that my back is a mess. Old injuries and RA combined with stress and me not taking care of myself to make for a really difficult case. Still skeptical, I thought they were setting me up to try to sell me a bill of goods I had no interest in buying. Imagine my surprise when instead, they said they understood I was on a very limited budget and had a very busy schedule and set me up on a 3 week plan of 3 visits per week. Between the RA pain and the intolerable back pain, the first several adjustments were excruciating. Dr. C. was so gentle and compassionate, and after the adjustments, I did notice some gradual improvements. Something I noticed right away was that this doctor was interested in making all of me feel better, not just my back. I had become accustomed to Dr. Lillith treating only certain joints and not wanting to address any other problems.
After a few weeks of seeing the superhero of chiropractic medicine, and beginning to see the improvements, he sat me down to have “The Talk”. In a kind and caring way, he told me that between the RA being flared up, the difficulty with my back, the stress, and lack of sleep, I had so much inflammation in my body that he was very concerned for me. He warned me that if I didn't get the inflammation under control, I could be looking at a major medical event, and it could happen much sooner than I would have thought. Then he did something that I have never had a doctor do, but he sat next to me, put his arm around me, and told me that we were going to fix this. He sat there while I cried, and in that moment a spark of determination and hope came to life. I went home sad and scared, but determined to find a way to fight for my life and health.
To be continued…